A New York hospital is making headlines after a past, mistaken diagnosis was made public that almost cost a woman her life. Colleen Burns was mistakenly declared brain dead after being admitted to the hospital following a drug overdose.


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Burns was actually in a deep coma upon being admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse. Doctors diagnosed her as having had a heart attack and declared her brain dead. Sixteen hours before her organs were to be harvested a nurse conducted a reflex test, to which Burns responded. The nurse immediately notified a doctor, but her alert was ignored. After failing to perform brain scans and tests to see if all drugs were out of her body, Burns was taken into the operating room for harvesting ... which is when she opened her eyes and doctors realized she was, in fact, quite alive. 

The hospital didn't even investigate the terrifying incident until the State Health Department looked into it. And then? St. Joseph's was fined a mere $6,000 for this particular "mistake."


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Burns, who suffered from extreme depression for years, committed suicide a year after the hospital ordeal.

The only response from the hospital was a statement, reading: 

"We have learned from this experience and have modified our policy to include this type of unusual circumstance presented in this case."